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Screen Printing vs. Direct to Garment Printing

If you’re looking to print t-shirts but aren’t sure whether you should opt for screen printing or direct to garment printing, you’ve come to the right place. Each printing method has its own technique along with particular sets of advantages. Here we’ll review what each method is and when you should employ one over the other.

How screen printing works

After choosing the artwork you want printed, each of the colors in the image need to be isolated. The colors can be separated using a digital program. A screen is then created comprised of fabric for each color in the design. The screen acts as a stencil in the printing process since ink is applied over it to create the image. The image is produced in ink layers, one color at a time, until the final product is attained. The results are crisp and clean designs on fabric.

How direct to garment printing (DTG) works

Direct to garment, often referred to as DTG, utilizes inkjet technology that prints directly onto the garment to achieve its look. All that’s needed are a textile printer and specialty inkjet garment inks that absorb into the fabric fibers. The process is similar to the paper or photograph printers you’re accustomed to using—except special textile printers are used. Though image quality can vary greatly depending on the value of the printer used, this process results in detailed images.

When to use screen printing vs. direct to garment printing

The biggest determiner of which printing method to use is the amount of colors your desired image has. Screen printing results in brightly colored vibrant images, but it’s best when the number of colors are limited. Having a minimum amount of colors ensures the process and subsequent results are optimal. Screen printing is best then for most school and company logos offering high quality imprints. On the other hand, if the image you want printed isn’t a basic logo, including instead extensive colors and detail, choose direct to garment printing. The inkjet technology allows for millions of options in colors, providing the detail your design requires.


Still have questions? If you’re interested in printing t-shirts but aren’t sure which technique best suits your order, we can help! We assist from logo creation if needed all the way to the printing process, ensuring you have top notch service and high quality printing.